Friday, December 28, 2007

Poetry- The House of Christmas

I know, I know I forgot again... but at least I'm remembering now(:

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay on their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost - how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky's dome.

This world is wild as an old wives' tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings

Round an incredible star.
To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Another Merry Christmas

I hope that you are all having a peaceful, joyful and very merry Christmas. And since this is Christmas day, it would be most unfair to not post a Chesterton quote for Christmas when GKC is such a champion of Christmas and this blogg in Chesterteens. So anyways, from The Everlasting Man two old and incredible favorites:

"The hands that had made the sun and stars were too small to reach the huge heads of the cattle."

"Unless we understand the presence of that enemy, we shall not only miss the
point of Christianity, but even miss the point of Christmas. Christmas for us in
Christendom has become one thing, and in one sense even a simple thing. But
like all the truths of that tradition, it is in another sense a very complex thing.
Its unique note is the simultaneous striking of many notes; of humility, of
gaiety, of gratitude, of mystical fear, but also of vigilance and of drama. It is
not only an occasion for the peacemakers any more than for the merry-makers;
it is not only a Hindu peace conference any more than it is only a
Scandinavian winter feast. There is something defiant in it also; something that
makes the abrupt bells at midnight sound like the great guns of a battle that has
just been won. All this indescribable thing that we call the Christmas
atmosphere only hangs in the air as something like a lingering fragrance or
fading vapour from the exultant explosion of that one hour in the Judean hills
nearly two thousand years ago. But the savour is still unmistakable, and it is
something too subtle or too solitary to be covered by our use of the word
peace. By the very nature of the story the rejoicings in the cavern were
rejoicings in a fortress or an outlaw's den; properly understood it is not unduly
flippant to say they were rejoicings in a dug-out. It is not only true that such a
subterranean chamber was a hiding-place from enemies; and that the enemies
were already scouring the stony plain that lay above it like a sky. It is not only
that the very horse-hoofs of Herod might in that sense have passed like
thunder over the sunken head of Christ. It is also that there is in that image a
true idea of an outpost, of a piercing through the rock and an entrance into an
enemy territory. There is in this buried divinity an idea of undermining the
world; of shaking the towers and palaces from below; even as Herod the great
king felt that earthquake under him and swayed with his swaying palace."

N.B. The chapter entitled The God in the Cave, is a perfect Christmas reading. On the pdf version that chapter starts somewhere around page 110. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas !!!

Although I wouldn't like to celebrate Christmas before it comes, let me wish you a Merry Christmas as well as a Happy New Year.
I've found this interesting article by Chesterton on Christmas (hope you like it if you hadn't heard of it) and a most funny quote about New Year:

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. (G K Chesterton)

¡Feliz Navidad!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Poetry Thursday-- More of Book 4

"Now here is a good warrant,"
Cried Alfred, "by my sword;
For he that is struck for an ill servant
Should be a kind lord.

"He that has been a servant
Knows more than priests and kings,
But he that has been an ill servant,
He knows all earthly things.

"Pride flings frail palaces at the sky,
As a man flings up sand,
But the firm feet of humility
Take hold of heavy land.

"Pride juggles with her toppling towers,
They strike the sun and cease,
But the firm feet of humility
They grip the ground like trees.

"He that hath failed in a little thing
Hath a sign upon the brow;
And the Earls of the Great Army
Have no such seal to show.

"The red print on my forehead,
Small flame for a red star,
In the van of the violent marching, then
When the sky is torn of the trumpets ten,
And the hands of the happy howling men
Fling wide the gates of war.

This blow that I return not
Ten times will I return
On kings and earls of all degree,
And armies wide as empires be
Shall slide like landslips to the sea
If the red star burn.

"One man shall drive a hundred,
As the dead kings drave;
Before me rocking hosts be riven,
And battering cohorts backwards driven,
For I am the first king known of Heaven
That has been struck like a slave.

"Up on the old white road, brothers,
Up on the Roman walls!
For this is the night of the drawing of swords,
And the tainted tower of the heathen hordes
Leans to our hammers, fires and cords,
Leans a little and falls.

"Follow the star that lives and leaps,
Follow the sword that sings,
For we go gathering heathen men,
A terrible harvest, ten by ten,
As the wrath of the last red autumn--then
When Christ reaps down the kings.

"Follow a light that leaps and spins,
Follow the fire unfurled!
For riseth up against realm and rod,
A thing forgotten, a thing downtrod,
The last lost giant, even God,
Is risen against the world."

Friday, December 14, 2007


The new member thanks you! Welcome back! Nice pic/quotes!

P.S. I posted the above message as a comment but deleted it on account of a typing mistake. The page appears to be messed up (at least on my screen) because of this. Has it done anything to the page as you all see it?
Much obliged,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Poetry Thursday

Since we're all in a Ballad mood, and because the ballad is SOOOO cool~ another of my favorite passages:

"And well may God with the serving-folk
Cast in His dreadful lot;
Is not He too a servant,
And is not He forgot ?

For was not God my gardener
And silent like a slave;
That opened oaks on the uplands
Or thicket in graveyard gave?

And was not God my armourer,
All patient and unpaid,
That sealed my skull as a helmet,
And ribs for hauberk made?

Did not a great grey servant
Of all my sires and me,
Build this pavilion of the pines,
And herd the fowls and fill the vines,
And labour and pass and leave no signs
Save mercy and mystery?

For God is a great servant,
And rose before the day,
From some primordial slumber torn;
But all we living later born
Sleep on, and rise after the morn,
And the Lord has gone away.

On things half sprung from sleeping,
All sleepy suns have shone,
They stretch stiff arms,
the yawning trees,
The beasts blink upon hands and knees,
Man is awake and does and sees--
But Heaven has done and gone.

For who shall guess the good riddle
Or speak of the Holiest,
Save in faint figures and failing words,
Who loves, yet laughs among the swords,
Labours, and is at rest?

But some see God like Guthrum,
Crowned, with a great beard curled,
But I see God like a good giant,
That, labouring, lifts the world.

Wherefore was God in Golgotha,
Slain as a serf is slain;
And hate He had of prince and peer,
And love He had and made good cheer,
Of them that, like this woman here,
Go powerfully in pain.

But in this grey morn of man's life,
Cometh sometime to the mind
A little light that leaps and flies,
Like a star blown on the wind.

A star of nowhere, a nameless star,
A light that spins and swirls,
And cries that even in hedge and hill,
Even on earth, it may go ill
At last with the evil earls.

A dancing sparkle, a doubtful star,
On the waste wind whirled and driven;
But it seems to sing of a wilder worth,
A time discrowned of doom and birth,
And the kingdom of the poor on earth
Come, as it is in heaven.

But even though such days endure,
How shall it profit her?
Who shall go groaning to the grave,
With many a meek and mighty slave,
Field-breaker and fisher on the wave,
And woodman and waggoner.

Bake ye the big world all again
A cake with kinder leaven;
Yet these are sorry evermore--
Unless there be a little door,
A little door in heaven."

Again, I must say, read it in context. This quote is from book 4 which relates the famous story of Alfred and the cakes. The a classic story, probably the most well-known of Alfred legends, is beautifully embroidered with rich imagery and splendid quotes. I'll post more of book four next week.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

2nd Anniversary

The detective Gabriel Syme
Was the poet of reason and rhyme
His constant sense of the comic
Carried him through the dangerous, and the the ironic.

The blog of the american chesterton society is just over two years old! In celebration they are hosting games and contests here. Compose a triolet, ballad or clerihew and don't forget to eat on the floor! Congratulations ACS!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I apologize for neglecting Chesterteens for so long.

In my absence a new member seems to have joined (Welcome!) and several wonderful posts have been written.

I have downloaded GIMP and found it to be a useful and fun computer graphics tool. I decided to make some Chesterton-themed pictures, and here they are. I must admit that the text is messed up on the cheese pic, I prefer the fence one myself. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Poetry Thursday

I have decided that, in honor of Syme (the poet hero of The Man Who Was Thursday, for those who don't know), the "weekly" poetry will be posted on a thursday. That is, of course, if I remember to do so :).

So without further ado, another piece of The Ballad of the White Horse:

"The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
We do not guard our gain,
The heaviest hind may easily
Come silently and suddenly
Upon me in a lane.

And any little maid that walks
In good thoughts apart,
May break the guard of the Three Kings
And see the dear and dreadful things
I hid within my heart.

The meanest man in grey fields gone
Behind the set of sun,
Heareth between star and other star,
Through the door of the darkness fallen ajar,
The council, eldest of things that are,
The talk of the Three in One.

The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
We do not guard our gold,
Men may uproot where worlds begin,
Or read the name of the nameless sin;
But if he fail or if he win
To no good man is told.

The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.

The men of the East may search the scrolls
For sure fates and fame,
But the men that drink the blood of God
Go singing to their shame.

The wise men know what wicked things
Are written on the sky,
They trim sad lamps, they touch sad strings,
Hearing the heavy purple wings,
Where the forgotten seraph kings
Still plot how God shall die.

The wise men know all evil things
Under the twisted trees,
Where the perverse in pleasure pine
And men are weary of green wine
And sick of crimson seas.

But you and all the kind of Christ
Are ignorant and brave,
And you have wars you hardly win
And souls you hardly save.

I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?"

Monday, December 03, 2007

Homeschool Blog Awards

Voting starts today! Go take a look at the blogs and have fun! There are a lot of cool blogs nominated, take a look.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

He is everywhere

" At that moment, however, the drowsy stillness of the summer afternoon was shattered by what sounded to his strained senses like G.K. Chesterton falling on a sheet of tin. "

Mr. Mulliner Speaking by P.G. Wodehouse

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Poetry... Tuesday! (:

Well, there has been, thanks to your humble servant, a shocking lack posts in the poetry department of late, actually the posts department in general as well. It is for that reason that I am posting poetry now, instead of putting off until Friday. And this isn't just any poetry, not even just any Chesterton poetry. This is, in my opinion at least, among the most wonderful, beautiful and hope-filled passages, in one of Chesterton's greatest works, The Ballad of the White Horse. However, it's even better in context, so I would highly recommend clicking here, and reading the entire ballad, or at least the third book, in which this quote is located.

So without further ado...

When God put man in a garden
He girt him with a sword,
And sent him forth a free knight
That might betray his lord;

He brake Him and betrayed Him,
And fast and far he fell,
Till you and I may stretch our necks
And burn our beards in hell.

But though I lie on the floor of the world,
With the seven sins for rods,
I would rather fall with Adam
Than rise with all your gods.

What have the strong gods given?
Where have the glad gods led?
When Guthrum sits on a hero's throne
And asks if he is dead?

Sirs, I am but a nameless man,
A rhymester without home,
Yet since I come of the Wessex clay
And carry the cross of Rome,

I will even answer the mighty earl
That asked of Wessex men
Why they be meek and monkish folk,
And bow to the White Lord's broken yoke;
What sign have we save blood and smoke?
Here is my answer then.

That on you is fallen the shadow,
And not upon the Name;
That though we scatter and though we fly,
And you hang over us like the sky,
You are more tired of victory,
Than we are tired of shame.

That though you hunt the Christian man
Like a hare on the hill-side,
The hare has still more heart to run
Than you have heart to ride.

That though all lances split on you,
All swords be heaved in vain,
We have more lust again to lose
Than you to win again.

Your lord sits high in the saddle,
A broken-hearted king,
But our king Alfred, lost from fame,
Fallen among foes or bonds of shame,
In I know not what mean trade or name,
Has still some song to sing;

Our monks go robed in rain and snow,
But the heart of flame therein,
But you go clothed in feasts and flames,
When all is ice within;

Nor shall all iron dooms make dumb
Men wondering ceaselessly,
If it be not better to fast for joy
Than feast for misery.

Nor monkish order only
Slides down, as field to fen,
All things achieved and chosen pass,
As the White Horse fades in the grass,
No work of Christian men.

Ere the sad gods that made your gods
Saw their sad sunrise pass,
The White Horse of the White Horse Vale,
That you have left to darken and fail,
Was cut out of the grass.

Therefore your end is on you,
Is on you and your kings,
Not for a fire in Ely fen,
Not that your gods are nine or ten,
But because it is only Christian men
Guard even heathen things.

For our God hath blessed creation,
Calling it good. I know
What spirit with whom you blindly band
Hath blessed destruction with his hand;
Yet by God's death the stars shall stand
And the small apples grow.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What Ho, Chesterteens!

I had joined the group a month or so before now, but this is the first time I have gotten around to posting because I have been rather busy.
But now that I'm here, hi!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I came across your web site while doing some searching on the Internet for an English essay that I remember reading in my junior high school days. I am fifty years old now and I have been searching for the book with that essay for a long time now! I know the essay's title was "On Chasing One's Hat" and by searching, I have found out that it must have been written by G K Chesterton. I was wondering if you know the name of the book this essay was in so I could try to find it somewhere, or maybe you know where I could read it online somewhere.

I myself don't know but if any of you do, please comment and let me know and I will email it back. Thanks.

Friday, October 19, 2007


I was very fortunate to be able to go on a fabulous three week trip to England and Scotland recently. One of my favourite parts (though I had many) was London. I wasn't able to see Chesterton's home, but I was able to see some other landmarks in his life, such as St. Paul's Cathedral (famous for starring in the novel The Ball and the Cross) and Fleet Street. For me, it was something like a Tolkien fan being transported into Middle Earth. I’d read about all these places and things in Chesterton’s novels, and they seemed almost fictional—part of the story.

“But I know another lane in England crooked also, though a little broader round one corner, of which one sees something more splendid than the sea. The name of this lane is Fleet Street, and the sight is the dreadful dome and cross which Wren set in the sky. Now, when I see this, I do not feel that it is a thing meant to be seen a million times; but once or twice or thrice at some strange crisis of the soul.”
- The Illustrated London News, 31 August 1907.

(Read the whole quote at The Hebdomadal Chesterton.)

Poetry Friday- Dedication of the Ballad of the White Horse, to Frances Chesterton

Of great limbs gone to chaos,
A great face turned to night--
Why bend above a shapeless shroud
Seeking in such archaic cloud
Sight of strong lords and light?

Where seven sunken Englands
Lie buried one by one,
Why should one idle spade, I wonder,
Shake up the dust of thanes like thunder
To smoke and choke the sun?

In cloud of clay so cast to heaven
What shape shall man discern?
These lords may light the mystery
Of mastery or victory,
And these ride high in history,
But these shall not return.

Gored on the Norman gonfalon
The Golden Dragon died:
We shall not wake with ballad strings
The good time of the smaller things,
We shall not see the holy kings
Ride down by Severn side.

Stiff, strange, and quaintly coloured
As the broidery of Bayeux
The England of that dawn remains,
And this of Alfred and the Danes
Seems like the tales a whole tribe feigns
Too English to be true.

Of a good king on an island
That ruled once on a time;
And as he walked by an apple tree
There came green devils out of the sea
With sea-plants trailing heavily
And tracks of opal slime.

Yet Alfred is no fairy tale;
His days as our days ran,
He also looked forth for an hour
On peopled plains and skies that lower,
From those few windows in the tower
That is the head of a man.

But who shall look from Alfred's hood
Or breathe his breath alive?
His century like a small dark cloud
Drifts far; it is an eyeless crowd,
Where the tortured trumpets scream aloud
And the dense arrows drive.

Lady, by one light only
We look from Alfred's eyes,
We know he saw athwart the wreck
The sign that hangs about your neck,
Where One more than Melchizedek
Is dead and never dies.

Therefore I bring these rhymes to you
Who brought the cross to me,
Since on you flaming without flaw
I saw the sign that Guthrum saw
When he let break his ships of awe,
And laid peace on the sea.

Do you remember when we went
Under a dragon moon,
And `mid volcanic tints of night
Walked where they fought the unknown fight
And saw black trees on the battle-height,
Black thorn on Ethandune?
And I thought, "I will go with you,
As man with God has gone,
And wander with a wandering star,
The wandering heart of things that are,
The fiery cross of love and war
That like yourself, goes on."

O go you onward; where you are
Shall honour and laughter be,
Past purpled forest and pearled foam,
God's winged pavilion free to roam,
Your face, that is a wandering home,
A flying home for me.

Ride through the silent earthquake lands,
Wide as a waste is wide,
Across these days like deserts, when
Pride and a little scratching pen
Have dried and split the hearts of men,
Heart of the heroes, ride.

Up through an empty house of stars,
Being what heart you are,
Up the inhuman steeps of space
As on a staircase go in grace,
Carrying the firelight on your face
Beyond the loneliest star.

Take these; in memory of the hour
We strayed a space from home
And saw the smoke-hued hamlets, quaint
With Westland king and Westland saint,
And watched the western glory faint
Along the road to Frome.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

I wondered if someone of you have read the Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad. In case you've read it, I'd love to know what you think about it, and about his idea of civilization and darkness and all that.
The problem is that I have to do a work on Africa titled 'The forgotten continent" and I was interested in mentioning Conrad, mainly because I love how he describes the Thames, and his idea that 'that also had been one of the dark places of Earth'.

I was thinking of very old times - says Marlow - when the Romans first came here, nineteen hundred years ago, the other day... like a running blaze on a plain, like a flash of lightning in the clouds.

But before getting down to work, I need to know the ideas or reflections of somebody I trust. And there's no one I trust more than Chestertonians of any age.
And, of course, if somebody of you knows a Chesteton's quote, book or article on this same subject, I couldn't be more grateful.

Thank you so much.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Email from Aidan Mackey to the ChesterTeens

I am not, alas!, in the age-group you cater for, but I met some of you at the St. Paul Chesterton Conference in June, and just wish to repeat what I constantly say --that it is, in my old age (85 last Monday) an enormous benediction to see and meet the growing number of intelligent young people who are discovering G.K.C.
That splendid conference was my last because on the flight back to England my foot became badly swollen (nearly ten hours in the cramped economy class), and that is a warning sign. For the first time, attendance passed the 500 mark, so that future conferences must be in a larger auditorium......... marvellous!
Blessings and good wishes to you all,
Aidan Mackey
(The oldest & noisiest Chestertonian)

Read more about Aidan Mackey here. The information there given seems to indicate that Aidan Mackey was the original ChesterTeen. (:

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Final Installment of Lepanto

As today is the 436th (?) anniversary of the battle of Lepanto, it seems a fitting day to conclude the series of stanzas from that wonderful poem. In fact this last installment seems to be the narrative of the actual battle, and thus this day 436 years ago.

The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plumèd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign--
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.

Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)

P.S. I just found a wonderful short story (at the same site that I copied Lepanto from) by Chesterton: The Disadvantage of Having Two Heads (and it's illustrated by the author)!!!!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Poetry Friday- You Guessed it... Lepanto

King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed--
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.

And I'm sure you can't guess where I copied it from.

Monday, October 01, 2007

World Youth Day

"Religious unity can look like a carnival and religious liberty can look like a funeral."

I wish I could post a better picture of the last Wyd but, apart from forgetting to take the camera with me, I've lost all the photos I took with one of those single use cameras I bought in the way to Cologne, in Paris, another beautiful city.

Anyway, I found this quote by Chesterton and it reminded me instantly of that summer. I've also read somewhere something Chesterton wrote on Cockneys and their jokes that made me think of the days in Cologne. It had something to do with french beards, but I haven't been able to find it.

What I can say is that I had a great time that summer and, though I haven't got any picture left, I keep an italian flag and bunch of hats, caps, bracelets and other souvenirs from different parts of the world. If you've been there you know what I'm talking about.

I hope you like the picture and the quote, if you hadn't heard of it, and I also hope to see you in the next World Youth Day in Sydney, which, of course, I'm attending. No one could possibly make me miss it. Ci vediamo a Sydney ! (That's one of the things I learnt to say in Italian).

Friday, September 21, 2007

Poetry Friday- Yet another Installment of Lepanto

St. Michaels on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,--
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.

And yet again, copied from this extremely useful source.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gilbert: the Conference Edition

In case you couldn't tell from my brilliant title, Gilbert arrived today... not just any Gilbert, the conference edition Gilbert. Besides two lovely :) pictures of yours truly and the, dare I say typical, spread of columns and essays, there is a delightful summary of, you guessed it, ChesterCon 07 With a number of photos from the said event, GKC's short story, A Picture of Tuesday, and wonderful, though very short, essay by the same on "Who is Sunday?". The latter I found particularly interesting, having spent a good deal of time discussing and wondering about that very topic. Chesterton's summary, big surprise, is fascinating and makes perfect sense. If you don't "get gilbert?" (no pun intended) this essay can be found in Masie Ward's famed Gilbert Keith Chesterton. Oh and of course the annual Clerihew contest winners, the overall winner is....
Rob MacArthur for:
Is odd
Is three
(Just in case you didn't know that already:).
Oh and I really am planning on finishing my report, but school is kind of monopolizing my time, or at least my thoughts. But I really do want to finish it, I haven't talked about Aidan Mackey's "small" group discussion yet!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Poetry Friday- Lepanto continued

They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be,
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,--
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still--hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Beautiful Black &White Pictures

White is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. God paints in many colors; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white. ~G.K. Chesterton

Friday, August 10, 2007

Poetry Friday- More of Lepanto

Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

Mahoma está en su paraíso sobre la estrella de la tarde
(Don Juan de Austria va a la guerra.)
Mueve el enorme turbante en el regazo de la hurí inmortal,
Su turbante que tejieron los mares y los ponientes.
Sacude los jardines de pavos reales al despertar de la siesta,
Y camina entre los árboles y es más alto que los árboles,
Y a través de todo el jardín la voz es un trueno que llama
A Azrael el Negro y a Ariel y al vuelo de Ammon:
Genios y Gigantes,
Múltiples de alas y de ojos,
Cuya fuerte obediencia partió el cielo
Cuando Salomón era rey.


Well, I didn't exactly find Lepanto here, but that is where I found the Spanish translation, what a cool site!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Poetry Friday- The Sword of Surprise

Sunder me from my bones, O sword of God
Till they stand stark and strange as do the trees;
That I whose heart goes up with the soaring woods
May marvel as much at these.

Sunder me from my blood that in the dark
I hear that red ancestral river run
Like branching buried floods that find the sea
But never see the sun.

Give me miraculous eyes to see my eyes
Those rolling mirrors made alive in me
Terrible crystals more incredible
Than all the things they see

Sunder me from my soul, that I may see
The sins like streaming wounds, the life's brave beat
Till I shall save myself as I would save
A stranger in the street.

This, like virtually all the poetry I post for friday, I found here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

More from Orthodoxy

It is impossible without humility to enjoy anything--even pride.

A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert--himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt--the Divine Reason.

The old humility was a spur that prevented a man from stopping;not a nail in his boot that prevented him from going on.

Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.

There is a thought that stops thought. That is the only thought that ought to be stopped. That is the ultimate evil against which all religious authority was aimed. It only appears at the end of decadent ages like our own: and alreadyMr. H.G.Wells has raised its ruinous banner; he has written a delicate piece of scepticism called "Doubts of the Instrument."In this he questions the brain itself, and endeavours to remove all reality from all his own assertions, past, present, and to come. But it was against this remote ruin that all the military systems in religion were originally ranked and ruled. The creeds and the crusades, the hierarchies and the horrible persecutions were not organized, as is ignorantly said, for the suppression of reason. They were organized for the difficult defence of reason. Man, by a blind instinct, knew that if once things were wildly questioned, reason could be questioned first. The authority of priests to absolve, the authority of popes to define the authority, even of inquisitors to terrify: these were all only dark defences erected round one central authority, more undemonstrable, more supernatural than all--the authority of a man to think. We know now that this is so;we have no excuse for not knowing it. For we can hear scepticism crashing through the old ring of authorities, and at the same moment we can see reason swaying upon her throne. In so far as religion is gone, reason is going. For they are both of the same primary and authoritative kind. They are both methods of proof which cannot themselves be proved. And in the act of destroying the idea of Divine authority we have largely destroyed the idea of that human authority by which we do a long-division sum. With a long and sustained tug we have attempted to pull the mitre off pontifical man; and his head has come off with it.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

In case you can't read what I wrote on the cartoon, (and you'd have to be some kind of superhero to be able to) this is what that miniscule print says:
"Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling."
G.K. Chesterton
In my cartoon, I have granted Gilbert's wish and have given him a five foot long pencil.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Poetry Friday-The Ballad of St. Barbara

Last friday was again crazy, again poetry friday was forgotten and so again I must beg your pardon. Today's poem is quite long, so mayhap it will count for two.


(St Barbara is the patron saint of gunners, and those in dangerof sudden death.)

When the long grey lines came flooding upon Paris in the plain,
We stood and drank of the last free air we never could taste again:
They had led us back from the lost battle, to halt we knew not where
And stilled us: and our gaping guns were dumb with our despair.
The grey tribes flowed for ever from the infinite lifeless lands
And a Norman to a Breton spoke, his chin upon his hands.

"There was an end to Ilium; and an end came to Rome;
And a man plays on a painted stage in the land that he calls home;
Arch after arch of triumph, but floor beyond falling floor,
That lead to a low door at last; and beyond that is no door."

And the Breton to the Norman spoke, like a small child spoke he,
And his sea-blue eyes were empty as his home beside the sea:
"There are more windows in one house than there are eyes to see,
There are more doors in a man's house, but God has hid the key:
Ruin is a builder of windows; her legend witnesseth
Barbara, the saint of gunners, and a stay in sudden death."

It seemed the wheel of the world stood still an instant in its turning,
More than the kings of the earth that turned with the turning of Valmy mill:
While trickled the idle tale and the sea-blue eyes were burning,
Still as the heart of a whirlwind the heart of the world stood still.

"Barbara the beautiful
Had praise of tongue and pen:
Her hair was like a summer night
Dark and desired of men.

Her feet like birds from far away
That linger and light in doubt;
And her face was like a window
Where a man's first love looked out.

Her sire was master of many slaves,
A hard man of his hands;
They built a tower about her
In the desolate golden lands,

Sealed as the tyrants sealed their tombs,
Planned with an ancient plan,
And set two windows in the tower
Like the two eyes of a man."

Our guns were set towards the foe; we had no word for firing.
Grey in the gateway of St Gond the Guard of the tyrant shone;
Dark with the fate of a falling star, retiring and retiring,
The Breton line went backward and the Breton tale went on.

"Her father had sailed across the sea
For the harbour of Africa
When all the slaves took up their tools
For the bidding of Barbara.

She smote the bare wall with her hand
And bade them smite again;
She poured them wealth of wine and meat
To stay them in their pain.

And cried through the lifted thunder
Of thronging hammer and hod
"Throw open the third window
In the third name of God."

Then the hearts failed and the tools fell,
And far towards the foam,
Men saw a shadow on the sands
And her father coming home."

Speak low and low, along the line the whispered word is flying,
Before the touch, before the time, we may not loose a breath:
Their guns must mash us to the mire and there be no replying,
Till the hand is raised to fling us for the final dice to death.

""There were two windows in your tower,
Barbara, Barbara,
For all between the sun and moon
In the lands of Africa.

Hath a man three eyes, Barbara,
A bird three wings,
That you have riven roof and wall
To look upon vain things?"

Her voice was like a wandering thing
That falters yet is free,
Whose soul has drunk in a distant land
Of the rivers of liberty.

"There are more wings than the wind knows
Or eyes that see the sun
In the light of the lost window
And the wind of the doors undone.

For out of the first lattice
Are the red lands that break
And out of the second lattice
Sea like a green snake,

But out of the third lattice
Under low eaves like wings
Is a new corner of the sky
And the other side of things."

It opened in the inmost place an instant beyond uttering,
A casement and a chasm and a thunder of doors undone,
A seraph's strong wing shaken out the shock of its unshuttering,
That split the shattered sunlight from a light beyond the sun.

"Then he drew sword and drave her
Where the judges sat and said,
"Caesar sits above the gods,
Barbara the maid.

Caesar hath made a treaty
With the moon and with the sun,
All the gods that men can praise
Praise him every one.

There is peace with the anointed
Of the scarlet oils of Bel,
With the Fish God,
where the whirlpoolIs a winding stair to hell,

With the pathless pyramids of slime,
Where the mitred negro lifts
To his black cherub in the cloud
Abominable gifts,

With the leprous silver cities
Where the dumb priests dance and nod,
But not with the three windows
And the last name of God.""

They are firing, we are falling, and the red skies rend and shiver us,
Barbara, Barbara, we may not loose a breath -
Be at the bursting doors of doom, and in the dark deliver us,
Who loosen the last window on the sun of sudden death.

"Barbara the beautiful
Stood up as queen set free,
Whose mouth is set to a terrible cup
And the trumpet of liberty.

"I have looked forth from a window
That no man now shall bar,
Caesar's toppling battle-towers
Shall never stretch so far.

The slaves are dancing in their chains,
The child laughs at the rod,
Because of the bird of the three wings,
And the third face of God."

The sword upon his shoulder
Shifted and shone and fell,
And Barbara lay very small
And crumpled like a shell."

What wall upon what hinges turned stands open like a door?
Too simple for the sight of faith, too huge for human eyes,
What light upon what ancient way shines to a far-off floor.
The line of the lost land of France or the plains of Paradise?

"Caesar smiled above the gods
His lip of stone was curled,
His iron armies wound like chains
Round and round the world,

And the strong slayer of his own
That cut down flesh for grass,
Smiled too, and went to his own tower
Like a walking tower of brass,

And the songs ceased and the slaves were dumb;
And far towards the foam
Men saw a shadow on the sands;
And her father coming home...

Blood of his blood upon the sword
Stood red but never dry.
He wiped it slowly, till the blade
Was blue as the blue sky.

But the blue sky split with a thunder-crack,
Spat down a blinding brand,
And all of him lay black and flat
As his shadow on the sand."

The touch and the tornado; all our guns give tongue together,
St Barbara for the gunnery and God defend the right,
They are stopped and gapped and battered as we blast away the weather,
Building window upon window to our lady of the light.

For the light is come on Liberty, her foes are falling, falling,
They are reeling, they are running, as the shameful years have run,
She is risen for all the humble, she has heard the conquered calling,
St Barbara of the Gunners, with her hand upon the gun.

They are burst asunder in the midst that eat of their own flatteries,
Whose lip is curled to order as its barbered hair is curled...
Blast of the beauty of sudden death, St Barbara of the batteries!
That blow the new white window in the wall of all the world.

For the hand is raised behind us, and the bolt smites hard
Through the rending of the doorways, through the death-gap of the Guard,
For the cry of the Three Colours is in Conde and beyond
And the Guard is flung for carrion in the graveyard of St Gond,
Through Mondemont and out of it, through Morin marsh and on
With earthquake of salutation the impossible thing is gone,
Gaul, charioted and charging, great Gaul upon a gun,
Tip-toe on all her thousand years and trumpeting to the sun:
As day returns, as death returns, swung backwards and swung home,
Back on the barbarous reign returns the battering-ram of Rome.
While that the east held hard and hot like pincers in a forge,
Came like the west wind roaring up the cannon of St George,
When the hunt is up and racing over stream and swamp and tarn
And their batteries, black with battle, hold the bridgeheads of the Marne,
And across the carnage of the Guard, by Paris in the plain,
The Normans to the Bretons cried and the Bretons cheered again...
But he that told the tale went home to his house beside the sea
And burned before St Barbara, the light of the windows three,
Three candles for an unknown thing, never to come again,
That opened like the eye of God on Paris in the plain.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Oracle of the Dog

I've just finished reading The incredulity of Father Brown, and this was one of the parts I most liked:

‘The dog could almost have told you the story, if he could talk,’ said the priest. ‘All I complain of is that because he couldn’t talk you made up his story for him, and made him talk with the tongues of men and angels. It’s part of something I’ve noticed more and more in the modern world, appearing in all sorts of newspaper rumours and conversational catchwords; something that’s arbitrary without being authoritative. People readily swallow the untested claims of this, that, or the other. It’s drowning all your old rationalism and scepticism, it’s coming in like a sea; and the name of it is superstition.’ He stood up abruptly, his face heavy with a sort of frown, and went on talking almost as if he were alone. ‘It’s the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense and can’t see things as they are. Anything that anybody talks about, and says there’s a good deal in it, extends itself indefinitely like a vista in a nightmare. And a dog is an omen, and a cat is a mystery, and a pig is a mascot, and a beetle is a scarab, calling up all the menagerie of polytheism from Egypt and old India; Dog Anubis and great green-eyed Pasht and all the holy howling Bulls of Bashan; reeling back to the bestial gods of the beginning, escaping into elephants and snakes and crocodiles; and all because you are frightened of four words:
‘He was made Man’.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm Reading Orthodoxy

Buddhism is centripetal, but Christianity is centrifugal: it breaks out. For the circle is perfect and infinite in its nature: but it is fixed for ever in its size; it can never be larger or smaller. But the cross, though it has at its heart a collision and contradiction, can extend its four arms forever without altering its shape. Because it has paradox in its centre it can grow without changing. The circle returns upon itself and is bound. The cross opens its four arms to the winds; it is a signpost for free travelers.

(Chap. 2: The Maniac, Orthodoxy)

Friday, July 06, 2007

And Before I Forget Again...

... Poetry Friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Wise Men
Step softly, under snow or rain,
To find the place where men can pray;
The way is all so very plain
That we may lose the way.

Oh, we have learnt to peer and pore
On tortured puzzles from our youth,
We know all the labyrinthine lore,
We are the three wise men of yore,
And we know all things but truth.

We have gone round and round the hill
And lost the wood among the trees,
And learnt long names for every ill,
And serve the made gods, naming still
The furies the Eumenides.

The gods of violence took the veil
Of vision and philosophy,
The Serpent that brought all men bale,
He bites his own accursed tail,
And calls himself Eternity.

Go humbly ... it has hailed and snowed...
With voices low and lanterns lit;
So very simple is the road,
That we may stray from it.

The world grows terrible and white,
And blinding white the breaking day;
We walk bewildered in the light,
For something is too large for sight,
And something much too plain to say.

The Child that was ere worlds begun
(... We need but walk a little way,
We need but see a latch undone...)
The Child that played with moon and sun
Is playing with a little hay.

The house from which the heavens are fed,
The old strange house that is our own,
Where trick of words are never said,
And Mercy is as plain as bread,
And Honour is as hard as stone.

Go humbly, humble are the skies,
And low and large and fierce the Star;
So very near the Manger lies
That we may travel far.

Hark! Laughter like a lion wakes
To roar to the resounding plain.
And the whole heaven shouts and shakes,
For God Himself is born again,
And we are little children walking
Through the snow and rain.

A Few Half-Baked and Discombobulated Thoughts

(From Book 1 of The Ballad of the White Horse)

"The wise men know all evil things
Under the twisted trees,
Where the perverse in pleasure pine
And men are weary of green wine
And sick of crimson seas."

1. willfully determined or disposed to go counter to what is expected or desired; contrary. 2.characterized by or proceeding from such a determination or disposition: a perverse mood. 3.wayward or cantankerous.
4.persistent or obstinate in what is wrong.
5.turned away from or rejecting what is right, good, or proper; wicked or corrupt.

Where the perverse in pleasure pine

The first defintition is just what it is fashionable to proclaim to be, to be "different". And I think many of the others could easily describe the popular mood. And what is more important in the eyes of the world then pleasure. Yet can merely pleasure bring happiness? "The real difference between the two words is that happiness is an end and pleasure can only be a means. " (GKC, of course as we saw in recent posting here) Real, satisfying happiness does not usually come through pleasure, but often through pain and suffering. After all:

"The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.

"The men of the East may search the scrolls
For sure fates and fame,
But the men that drink the blood of God
Go singing to their shame.

Our own paths to Heaven are paved with sorrow and suffering, in the footsteps of the One who went before. "Can we drink of the cup that he drank from?"

Thursday, July 05, 2007

ChesterCon 07- Saturday Ante Luch

After reading and discussing Animal Farm by George Orwell, I found the first talk on Saturday, Inside every thin man is a fat man struggling to get out; Chesterton and George Orwell, especially interesting. Not that it improved my opinion of GO very much, I didn't know much about him before and I can't say that to know him is to love him. Anyone that says Chesterton's ideas, such as the idea that people would like to be self-sufficient, are ridiculous is rather odd, especially if he then goes and does them. George Orwell did that. He said that Chesterton was quite wrong in thinking that people would want to be self-sufficient and then he went and tried to be self-sufficient for many years. To be fair, Animal Farm was interesting, although far from my favorite book in the world, and I'm sure others are too.

Let us turn to a brighter subject, that of Sigrid Undset, on whom the next talk was based. Geir Hasnes is a Norgwegian bibliographer and has a really cool accent, and his talk was fascinating. I really knew next to nothing about Sigrid Undset, but I have learned a great deal and so far I love her. How could you not love someone who read old Norse legends to her dying father in the old Norse language when she was only ten? She first discovered Chesterton when she read his book on Dickens. Then when she read Orthodoxy there was no way back, she was on her way to Catholicism. And so in 1924 on November 1st she became a Catholic. Her literary output earned her the Nobel Prize (the money she earned, she gave to mentally retarded children and to Catholic schools in Norway) and also the less comfortable position of number 1 on the Nazi extermination list in Norway, although it was complementary to her work I would say. This postition caused her to flee to America. There is of course much more to her story, but I'm not the one to tell it.
Thanks to this talk, I am now very interested to read her books now, which are, so I hear, a good cry.

More to follow shortly (within the year) on what came next.

Saturday, June 30, 2007


This is ChesterTeen 's 100th post!

From Gilbert Magazine's Mailbag:

Chesterton's Mail Bag

Gilbert Keith Chesterton Answers His Mail

More letters asking
“What’s the Difference?”

Dear Mr. Chesterton,
What is the difference between progress and growth?


Dear Muddy,
The fatal metaphor of progress, which means leaving things behind us, has utterly obscured the real idea of growth, which means leaving things inside us.

Your friend,
G.K. Chesterton

("The Romance of Rhyme," Fancies vs. Fads)

Dear Mr. Chesterton,
What is the difference between wit and humor?


Dear Mischievous,
Wit is always connected with the idea that truth is close and clear. Humour, on the other hand, is always connected with the idea that truth is tricky and mystical and easily mistaken.

Your friend,
G.K. Chesterton

("The Puritan," George Bernard Shaw)

Dear Mr. Chesterton,
What is the difference between happiness and pleasure?


Dear Misbehavin',
The real difference between the two words is that happiness is an end and pleasure can only be a means.

Your friend,
G.K. Chesterton

(Daily News, April 27, 1912)

Dear Mr. Chesterton,
What is the difference between an Italian and an Englishman?


Dear Mionetto,
An Italian will sometimes break things where an Englishman will send for the manager or write to the Times.

Your friend,
G.K. Chesterton

(Illustrated London News, Dec. 2, 1916)

Dear Mr. Chesterton,
What is the difference between individualism and democracy?


Dear Mulling,
The (Individualists say) that a man must be free as regards his individuality, not merely as regards his citizenship. Democracy declares that a man should have liberty indeed, but should have that liberty which other men have. This (Individualist) school felt that the particular liberty which a man should above all things have, was the liberty which other men did not have. Their individual aimed not merely at being free, but at being unique, indeed, at being solitary. They set the claims of men against the rights of men.

Your friend,
G.K. Chesterton

(Daily News, May 26, 1906)

Dear Mr. Chesterton,

What is the difference between religion and superstition?


Dear Mystified,
Religion is a rare and definite conviction of what this world of ours really is. Superstition is only the commonsense acceptation of what it obviously is. Sane peasants, healthy hunters, are all superstitious; they are superstitious because they are healthy and sane. They have a reasonable fear of the unknown; for superstition is only the creative side of agnosticism. The superstitious man sees quite plainly that the universe is a thing to be feared. The religious man maintains paradoxically that the universe is a thing to be trusted. The awe is certainly the obvious thing; the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdomÉ. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom—but not the end.

Your friend,
G.K. Chesterton

(Daily News, June 2, 1906)

Dear Mr. Chesterton,

What's the difference between Buddhism and Christianity? Is there a difference?


Dear Muddled,
The very thing which has made some moderns think Christianity inferior to Buddhism is the very thing that saves Christians from complete spiritual pride—I mean the fact that the Christian looks to a God outside him, and not merely inside him. If anybody thinks that there is little or no difference between Christianity and Buddhism, let him look at the religious art of the two creeds. In the most perverse and hideous picture of mediaeval asceticism the eyes of the Saints are wide open, for they are looking at something not themselves. But the eyes of the Buddhist images are commonly closed, for they are looking within. They are self-centered, self-satisfied in their very denial of self.

Your friend,
G.K. Chesterton

(Daily News, Aug. 4, 1906

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© 2006 The American Chesterton Society

This excerpt is from

Friday, June 29, 2007

Poetry FRIDAY! An Exerpt from The Ballad of the White Horse

From Book Four (I copied it from here again):

"And well may God with the serving-folk
Cast in His dreadful lot;
Is not He too a servant,
And is not He forgot ?

"For was not God my gardener
And silent like a slave;
That opened oaks on the uplands
Or thicket in graveyard gave? "

And was not God my armourer,
All patient and unpaid,
That sealed my skull as a helmet,
And ribs for hauberk made? "

Did not a great grey servant
Of all my sires and me,
Build this pavilion of the pines,
And herd the fowls and fill the vines,
And labour and pass and leave no signs
Save mercy and mystery?

"For God is a great servant,
And rose before the day,
From some primordial slumber torn;
But all we living later born
Sleep on, and rise after the morn,
And the Lord has gone away.

"On things half sprung from sleeping,
All sleepy suns have shone,
They stretch stiff arms, the yawning trees,
The beasts blink upon hands and knees,
Man is awake and does and sees--
But Heaven has done and gone.

For who shall guess the good riddle
Or speak of the Holiest,
Save in faint figures and failing words,
Who loves, yet laughs among the swords,
Labours, and is at rest?

"But some see God like Guthrum,
Crowned, with a great beard curled,
But I see God like a good giant,
That, labouring, lifts the world.

"Wherefore was God in Golgotha,
Slain as a serf is slain;
And hate He had of prince and peer,
And love He had and made good cheer,
Of them that, like this woman here,
Go powerfully in pain.

"But in this grey morn of man's life,
Cometh sometime to the mind
A little light that leaps and flies,
Like a star blown on the wind.

"A star of nowhere, a nameless star,
A light that spins and swirls,
And cries that even in hedge and hill,
Even on earth, it may go ill
At last with the evil earls.

"A dancing sparkle, a doubtful star,
On the waste wind whirled and driven;
But it seems to sing of a wilder worth,
A time discrowned of doom and birth,
And the kingdom of the poor on earth
Come, as it is in heaven.

"But even though such days endure,
How shall it profit her?
Who shall go groaning to the grave,
With many a meek and mighty slave,
Field-breaker and fisher on the wave,
And woodman and waggoner.

"Bake ye the big world all again
A cake with kinder leaven;
Yet these are sorry evermore--
Unless there be a little door,
A little door in heaven."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

ChesterCon 07- Friday, After Dinner

Actually, this is going to be mostly after dinner, but I do have to mention that during dinner was when Mrs. Brown finally arrived. So it was very nice (especially since I was by then very nervous for the recitation coming up) to have a quick chat with her. After dinner we ( I was with three other girls just about the entire time there) strolled over to the other building where the talks were given. There we had a wait of approximately half an hour before it was time for me to recite. For those of you who don't know, at the ChesterCon I recited the first book of the Ballad of the White Horse, and that is what I have been alluding to throughout this post. So after the half hour was up and after Dale introduced me I recited.

I made it through. I had only a few minor stumbles, but I think I had help (I was desperately praying that I wouldn't completely forget the poem, both before and during the recitation). And afterwards I got a standing ovation. I still can hardly believe it. Throughout the rest of that evening and the next day, dozens of people came and chatted with me. It was so cool to meet so many wonderful people. A thousand thanks to all of you who came to chat with me. Talk about making my day, making my week would be nearer the mark.

Dawn Eden was next, and she was awesome. She is a convert to Catholicism, and as often happens Chesterton helped. She pointed out that The Man Who Was Thursday is about both false rebellion (the anarchist movement) and true rebellion (the police force) and that Christians are rebellious too, against the fallen world. A few quotes I learned or was reminded of by her talk: A sound atheist cannot be to careful of his reading C.S. Lewis, The most important part of a picture is its frame GKC and we don't need wonders but wonder GKC (I think but I'm not sure, it sounds like him). And I was not the only person who liked this talk.

Joseph Pearce followed her, speaking on Small is Still Beautiful: Chestertonian Economics. The title was adapted from the title of the book by E.F. Schumaker, Small is Beautiful. Schumaker has a very interesting story. He was a very well respected economist and also an atheist. A sound atheist cannot be to careful of his reading. His friend got him to read several papal encyclicals. Although Schumaker was at first skeptical he soon found that the popes really had a lot of answers to the problems in economics. After reading the encylical Humana Vitae Schumaker's mother and daughter both converted, and eventually so did Schumaker. The world needs to repent or it will die of consumption, were his thought-provoking closing words.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

ChesterCon 07- Friday

First off friday (following breakfast of course) was a talk by our own Dr. Thursday! He spoke on "A Week of Thursdays". He used each letter of the word Thursday to provide topics for his talk. Thus:

T-theta (a syllable of enthusiasm)
H-Humility (and humor)
R-Rhyme and Reason (the princesses from the Phantom Tollbooth)
Y-Yo (Chesterton's word for both yes and no)

And a few more interesting tidbits:

Humility means Honesty
There is but one thought greater then that of the Universe, that is the thought of its Maker.
It is just as easy to be logical about imaginary things as real ones
It is the humble man who does the great things

Next came Robert Moore-Jumonville whose talk had the amusing yet very logical title of Why Did the Lamppost Cross the Road: Chesterton's Theology of Civilisation, so there is not much to explain as far as what the main purpose of his talk was. The lamppost played a key role in this talk since, in GKC's writing, the lamppost is often used to symbolize civilisation (e.g. TMWWT). So again, a few of my notes from this talk, quotes from the speaker or Chesterton respectively:
Man is the animal that makes dogmas
Man is content to picnic in the ruins of this palaces
What man has done, man can still do

By then it was time for lunch after which came two panels in a row. The first consisted of Aidan Mackey, Christopher Chan and Kerry MacArthur. Aidan Mackey was wonderful, he knew Ada Chesterton (Cecil's wife) quite well and also (if I remember correctly) Chesterton's secretary. The first book of Chesterton's that he read was The Man Who Was Thursday in the year that Chesterton died on the recommendation of his brother who told him to get his nose out of the junk he was reading. So he read it and found it very interesting, and of course, since then he has read a good deal more of GKC, he was, as my mother remarked, the original ChesterTeen.
Next was Christoper Chan who spent most of his time, rather then on the TMWWT, speaking about how hard it can be to make a difference and yet encouraging us to try. After him was Kerry MacArthur, who I really liked although I cannot explain to myself why. He compared different areas of TMWWT to different typical types of dreams, the Professor De Worms chase to a dream where you can't move; the duel to a dream where you are fighting for your life; and the chase at the end to a delirious dream.

The next panel was made up of Jorge Iglesias, Mike Streeter and Rob MacArthur. Jorge Iglesias spoke on Chesterton and South American author, Borge. Mike Streeter spoke on Chesterton and Hume and Rob MacArthur on Chesterton and Chesterton (contrasting Chesterton's work in varying genres). My notebook was not available during this talk so I don't have the convenient lists of interesting points as I did from the others, but this was still quite interesting, and again you can listen to them, as you know CDs are available here.

This post is getting extremely long and run-on so I will continue with after dinner in my next posting.

ChesterCon 07- Thursday

We arrived at the Chesterton Conference around four, and although the talks didn't start till seven there was plenty to do in the mean time. What with meeting people (such as Dr. Thursday, finally!!!!) and chatting with them, browsing the vendor hall, playing frisbee and fitting dinner into the schedule, we were not bored. Then once the time had come, we all piled into the auditorium for the talks. Actually first was not really a talk but a "Welcome". In other words for about fifteen minutes Dale Ahlquist told us about the ACS, and what we should buy from the ACS etc. and kept us laughing the entire time. Then came his actual talk.

He told us a good deal about the background of The Man Who Was Thursday, a possible inspiration for the character of Sunday (Chesterton's former schoolmaster) and about a few short stories which gave hints of elements of TMWWT long before that book was written. Those included A Picture of Tuesday (which I have read) and The Man With Two Legs (which I now very much want to read). But since I can't tell you everything that he said, I will have to recommend you buy his talk, and all the others for that matter.

Next was Chesterton himself (ok, ok it was really Chuck Chalberg) speaking on Islam. And it wasn't just about Islam, it was also about Jerusalem and Rome and a good deal more. Some of my favorite quotes/points were these:

In the crusades it was Islam that invaded rather then Europe
Obviously, obvious things are easily forgotten
Islam possesses a great truth, so great that it was impossible to see that it is a half truth
The friction of two truths together breeds that firse of the mind
A wall is like a rule and a gate is like an exception to the rule
Gethsamane was the place where God said his prayers
The object of war is peace so the object of religious war is mental peace
"I will not wear a crown of gold where my master wore a crown of thorns" a quote from the knight who led a temporarily triumphant invasion of Jerusalem, was offered its crown and refused it in those words

Then after a few questions and singing Happy Birthday to Dale Ahlquist it was time to retire for the night.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Quick Check In

Yes, I really did plan to post while I was at ChesterCon, but I didn't have any spare time. I have written most of VERY long post but it is not on this computer so I will not post it now. The purpose of this post is just to let you know that I am still alive.... and also that you should all come to ChesterCon next year, it's awesome! BTW, Syme thank you for the poetry, of course I meant to do that too, but as I said before I had no spare time. I was even more busy reciting poetry that night (and getting extremely nervous before hand). Okay, I'll stop blabbering... you'll get enough of that when I do my actual post.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Well, in absence of a poetry friday or saturday (I know, a lot of you are busy with the Chestercon), here's a poem to satisfy the weekly quota ^_^...Hopefully I'm not violation any copyright restrictions, I found it on the Project Gutenburg Online... (

Another tattered rhymster in the ring,
With but the old plea to the sneering schools,
That on him too, some secret night in spring
Came the old frenzy of a hundred fools

To make some thing: the old want dark and deep,
The thirst of men, the hunger of the stars,
Since first it tinged even the Eternal's sleep,
With monstrous dreams of trees and towns and mars.

When all He made for the first time He saw,
Scattering stars as misers shake their pelf.
Then in the last strange wrath broke His own law,
And made a graven image of Himself.

Monday, June 11, 2007

This is Not a Frisbee...

This is the G.K. Chesterton-We-Can't-Call-It-A-Frisbee-Due-To-Copyright-
Restrictions. There are many more enticing products available here and, I assume, at the ChesterCon later this week. Speaking of ChesterCon do any of you plan to go? I'm going, unless of course a calamity occurs as happened last year, and I plan to report on the goings-on there.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pocket: What's in yours at the current moment?

Comment and tell what was in your pocket. Mine contains a comb and a small crucifix.

Once I planned to write a book of poems entirely about the things in my pocket. But I found it would be too long; and the age of the great epics is past.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

Friday, June 08, 2007

Poetry Friday!

An amazing thing happened, I remembered poetry friday on friday! So here ye are, from this very cool site the first stanza of Lepanto in both English and Spanish:

White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.
Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain--hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.

Blancos los surtidores en los patios del sol;
El Sultán de Estambul se ríe mientras juegan.
Como las fuentes es la risa de esa cara que todos temen,
Y agita la boscosa oscuridad, la oscuridad de su barba,
Y enarca la media luna sangrienta, la media luna de sus labios,
Porque al más íntimo de los mares del mundo lo sacuden sus barcos.
Han desafiado las repúblicas blancas por los cabos de Italia,
Han arrojado sobre el León del Mar el Adriático,
Y la agonía y la perdición abrieron los brazos del Papa,
Que pide espadas a los reyes cristianos para rodear la Cruz.
La fría Reina de Inglaterra se mira en el espejo;
La sombra de los Valois bosteza en la Misa;
De las irreales islas del ocaso retumban los cañones de España,
Y el Señor del Cuerno de Oro se está riendo en pleno sol.
Laten vagos tambiores, amortiguados por las montañas,
Y sólo un príncipe sin corona, se ha movido en un trono sin nombre,
Y abandonando su dudoso trono e infamado sitial,
El último caballero de Europa toma las armas,
El último rezagado trovador que oyó el canto del pájaro,
Que otrora fue cantando hacia el sur, cuando el mundo entero era joven.
En ese vasto silencio, diminuto y sin miedo
Sube por la senda sinuosa el ruido de la Cruzada.
Mugen los fuertes gongs y los cañones retumban,
Don Juan de Austria se va a la guerra.
Forcejean tiesas banderas en las frías ráfagas de la noche,
Oscura púrpura en la sombra, oro viejo en la luz,
Carmesí de las antorchas en los atabales de cobre.
Las clarinadas, los clarines, los cañones y aquí está él.
Ríe Don Juan en la gallarda barba rizada.
Rechaza, estribando fuerte, todos los tronos del mundo,
Yergue la cabeza como bandera de los libres.
Luz de amor para España ¡hurrá!
Luz de muerte para África ¡hurrá!
Don Juan de Austria
Cabalga hacia el mar.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Poetry- Again on Saturday

I did remember poetry friday once yesterday, while I was discussing To Kill a Mockingbird with several friends at GilbertGirl's residence, but forgot shortly after and only remembered again about ten minutes ago. Anyways without further ado- Variations of an Air By GKC

Old King Cole
Was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he
He called for his pipe and he called for his bowl
and he called for his fiddlers three

after Lord Tennyson
Cole, that unwearied prince of Colchester,
Growing more gay with age and with long days
Deeper in laughter and desire of life
As that Virginian climber on our walls
Flames scarlet with the fading of the year;
Called for his wassail and that other weed
Virginian also, from the western woods
Where English Raleigh checked the boast of Spain,
And lighting joy with joy, and piling up
Pleasure as crown for pleasure, bade me bring
Those three, the minstrels whose emblazoned coats
Shone with the oyster-shells of Colchester;
And these three played, and playing grew more fain
Of mirth and music; till the heathen came
And the King slept beside the northern sea.

after W.B. Yeats
Of an old King in a story
From the grey sea-folk I have heard
Whose heart was no more broken
Than the wings of a bird.

As soon as the moon was silver
And the thin stars began,
He took his pipe and his tankard,
Like an old peasant man.

And three tall shadows were with him
And came at his command;
And played before him for ever
The fiddles of fairyland.

And he died in the young summer
Of the world's desire;
Before our hearts were broken
Like sticks in a fire.

after Walt Whitman

Me clairvoyant,
Me conscious of you, old camarado,
Needing no telescope, lorgnette, field-glass, opera-glass, myopic pince-nez,
Me piercing two thousand years with eye naked and not ashamed;
The crown cannot hide you from me,
Musty old feudal-heraldic trappings cannot hide you from me, I perceive that you drink.
(I am drinking with you. I am as drunk as you are.)
I see you are inhaling tobacco, puffing, smoking, spitting
(I do not object to your spitting),
You prophetic of American largeness,
You anticipating the broad masculine manners of these States;
I see in you also there are movements, tremors, tears, desire for the melodious,
I salute your three violinists, endlessly making vibrations,
Rigid, relentless, capable of going on for ever;
They play my accompaniment; but I shall take no notice of any accompaniment;
I myself am a complete orchestra. So long.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Happy Birthday to you...

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Gilbert
Happy Birthday to you

It is rather late for a long detailed post, but you can go here to read what Chesterton himself had to say, Enjoy!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Abundant Alliteration

1.the commencement of two or more stressed syllables of a word group either with the same consonant sound or sound group (consonantal alliteration), as in from stem to stern, or with a vowel sound that may differ from syllable to syllable (vocalic alliteration), as in each to all. Compare consonance (def. 4a).
2.the commencement of two or more words of a word group with the same letter, as in apt alliteration's artful aid."

Re-reading The Everlasting Man today, I noticed something that merited a second glance. I might not have noticed it if I hadn't been studying the topic recently as a writing technique rather than just wordplay. This was the sentence:
"He would find the trail of monsters blindly developing in directions outside all our common imagery of fish and bird; groping and grasping and touching life with every extravagant elongation of horn and tongue and tentacle; growing a forest of fantastic caricatures of the claw and the fin and the finger."
- Chapter 1
Maybe not all of those were intentional, but they inveigled my interest.`

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Poetry... Saturday

Okay yesterday was crazy so I forgot poetry friday again! I'm very sorry... maybe someday I'll actually remember to do poetry friday on a friday.

A Word

A word came forth in Galilee, a word like to a star;
It climbed and rang and blessed and burnt wherever brave hearts are;
A word of sudden secret hope, of trial and increase
Of wrath and pity fused in fire, and passion kissing peace.
A star that o'er the citied world beckoned, a sword of flame;
A star with myriad thunders tongued: a mighty word there came.

The wedge's dart passed into it, the groan of timber wains,
The ringing of the river nails, the shrieking of the planes;
The hammering on the roofs at morn, the busy workshop roar;
The hiss of shavings drifted deep along the windy floor;
The heat browned toiler's crooning song, the hum of human worth
Mingled of all the noise of crafts, the ringing word went forth.

The splash of nets passed into it, the grind of sand and shell,
The boat-hook's clash, the boas-oars' jar, the cries to buy and sell,
The flapping of the landed shoals, the canvas crackling free,
And through all varied notes and cries, the roaring of the sea,
The noise of little lives and brave, of needy lives and high;
In gathering all the throes of earth, the living word went by.

Earth's giants bowed down to it, in Empire's huge eclipse,
When darkness sat above the thrones, seven thunders on her lips,
The woes of cities entered it, the clang of idols' falls,
The scream of filthy Caesars stabbed high in their brazen halls,
The dim hoarse floods of naked men, the world-realms' snapping girth,
The trumpets of Apocalypse, the darkness of the earth:
The wrath that brake the eternal lamp and hid the eternal hill,

A world's destruction loading, the word went onward still--
The blaze of creeds passed into it, the hiss of horrid fires,
The headlong spear, the scarlet cross, the hair-shirt and the briars,
The cloistered brethren's thunderous chaunt, the errant champion's song,
The shifting of the crowns and thrones, the tangle of the strong.

The shattering fall of crest and crown and shield and cross and cope,
The tearing of the gauds of time, the blight of prince and pope,
The reign of ragged millions leagued to wrench a loaded debt,
Loud with the many-throated roar, the word went forward yet.
The song of wheels passed into it, the roaring and the smoke,
The riddle of the want and wage, the fogs that burn and choke.

The breaking of the girths of gold, the needs that creep and swell,
The strengthening hope, the dazing light, the deafening evangel,
Through kingdoms dead and empires damned, through changes without cease,
With earthquake, chaos, born and fed, rose,--and the word was "Peace."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

St. Joan of Arc- coming up on May 30

JOAN of Arc was not stuck at the Cross Roads either by rejecting all the paths like Tolstoy or by accepting them all like Nietzsche. She chose a path and went down it like a thunderbolt. Yet Joan, when I come to think of her, had in her all that was true either in Tolstoy or Nietzsche -- all that was even tolerable in eitber of them. I thought of all that is noble in Tolstoy: the pleasure in plain things, especially in plain pity, the actualities of the earth, the reverence for the poor, the dignity of the bowed back. Joan of Arc had all that, and with this great addition: that she endured poverty while she admired it, whereas Tolstoy is only a typical aristocrat trying to find out its secret. And then I thought of all that was brave and proud and pathetic in poor Nietzsche and his mutiny against the emptiness and timidity of our time. I thought of his cry for the ecstatic equilibrium of danger, his hunger for the rush of great horses, his cry to arms. Well, Joan of Arc had all that and, again, with this difference, that she did not praise fighting, but fought. We know that she was not afraid of an army, while Nietzsche for all we know was afraid of a cow. Tolstoy only praised the peasant; she was the peasant. Nietzsche only praised the warrior; she was the warrior. She beat them both at their own antagonistic ideals she was more gentle than the one, more violent than the other. Yet she was a perfectly practical person who did something, while they are wild speculators who do nothing. ~G.K. Chesterton